SAN ANTONIO — The city is not buzzing with championship fever. Well, at least by our definition. I have experienced a town really really humming with excitement. San Antonio is not doing that. “Buzz” is, of course, a nebulous term and having a very nice crowd show up is a good enough definition.
However, on our way to the Alamodome for credential pick up, there was no signage indicating the championship game was nigh (one day away!) but there were plenty of signs advertising the Alamo Bowl. There was very little to indicate the very big, very important matchup was happening. It is not uncommon to see visiting fans at the Pearl during the week but at lunch there, I saw no meandering WKU fans. Now, that is likely because of the relatively quick turnaround from earning the bid, and it being a Friday and not the normal Saturday.
None of this is to say that this game will not be well-attended or is completely off the radar. The program announced that it had sold some 30K tickets — and that does not include the estimated 10K student tickets. There will be a lot of fans and most supporting the blue-and-orange. There was a rally at the UTSA main campus that should spark some more interest. The local television stations and local sports radio have been very much on the bandwagon.
There is plenty of excitement but the CUSA title game is not really on everyone’s minds right now. That is fine, and reminiscent of the first UTSA game ten-years ago. Then, while 56K+ showed up for the first one, there was a long road to get people excited about the WAC, and then losing seasons in CUSA. This season for UTSA was great in that it earned a lot of new fans, and set the kind expectations that mean people will be ready for this kind of game.
Take the two fans I met today at the Alamodome box office: Adrian and Roy. They were walking up as I was leaving the credential pick up. They are ex-military guys who moved to town in 2012. Even though the program has been a going concern since 2011, they did not get become aware of the team until about 2017 when Marcus Davenport was someone to care about. “I felt like, I should check this guy out”
“I love football. I had season tickets to the Gunslingers. We go to the all-American high school game here.”
The heard about the game and figured they should go to this one as well. I asked about Bailey Zappe. “I don’t know too much about him. Who is he?” I explained his amazing season and the story of his arrival to WKU. “Maybe I should go for Western Kentucky then!”
The CUSA Championship game is compelling. UTSA is a good team, and this is a great season. WKU is a great story, with a lot of talent. We will either see UTSA win its first league title after ten short seasons, or WKU pick up its third title in seven seasons. Western has a quarterback with one of the best statistical seasons ever, and UTSA has talent all over both sides of the ball. There is a lot of interesting things and not a lot of awareness of it.
This site, and others do a little, but do not have the reach of the big national outlets that shape the narrative. So if the city is not really abuzz with excitement, it is because no one is telling about it.